Mostly told in flashback, FATE IS THE HUNTER has Glenn Ford as an airline executive investigating a plane crash which opens the film.
Piloted by Rod Taylor, flight attendant Suzanne Pleshette is the only survivor out of the 54 on board.
The crash is only 10 miles from the airport. Massive engine failure is thought to be the cause.
The airline chiefs, including head engineer (Nehemiah Persoff) quickly decide it was pilot error since one of the engines is still working when they test it.
Part of the flashback shows Glenn Ford and Rod Taylor during the War, watching Jane Russell entertaining the troops. Jane sings ‘No Love, No Nothing.’
Ford decides to recreate the original flight and persuades Suzanne Pleshette to come on board as she can describe the movements of the crew and what happened before the crash.
During the flashback, Ford talks to Mark Stevens who was out drinking with Rod Taylor (or was he?); and Dorothy Malone who had broken off her engagement to Taylor , and Mary Wickes who was his landlady.
Recreating the original flight, Suzanne hands Glenn a cup of coffee – an innocent action which leads to the crash.
It looks as if the plane will crash again, but the reason for the original crash is discovered in time.
A strong cast also included Nancy Kwan, Constance Towers ( underused as Ford’s secretary), Wally Cox, Howard St.John .
Nice too to see Robert Wilke in a modern day role, as the airline’s head of communications.
Ford and Taylor play a contrasting pair of friends, Taylor easygoing and well liked, and Ford making his way up the corporate ladder – but willing to defend his friend’s reputation .
It’s a good drama and I know it’s one I will watch more than once.